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What is the difference between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi frequencies?

WiFi or Wireless Fidelity has increasingly become a necessity over the past decade. It is used by people all around the world and just like any other wireless communication system, it has a frequency and wavelength. All these factors matter in how the waves are transmitted and how far they are transmitted.

The terms 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz refer to the frequency band of the router or the device that is transmitting these signals. Often in the market, different routers offer a feature known as ‘Dual Band Support’ which means, that specific router supports both the bands simultaneously.

The biggest and most prominent difference between these two frequencies is the speed and range. The 5 GHz frequency means the router has faster speeds but lesser range whereas, the 2.4 GHz devices are literal opposites and have slower speeds and larger range.

But these factors also depend on the wireless standards that the router supports – 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, or 802.11ac. A 2.4 GHz router supports speeds up to 600 Mbps, however, the 5 GHz routers double that and support speeds up to 1.3Gbps.

Also read: 5 reasons why you should avoid using Public WiFi

2.4 GHz vs 5 GHz WiFi frequencies: How do they differ on a router?

What is the difference between a 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi Frequencies?
Photo by Misha Feshchak

The very main aspects that affect these frequencies are speed, range and interference.

Speed

In Wi-Fi signals, the speed is directly proportional to the frequency available in the router. The higher the frequency, faster are the speeds and vice versa.

Therefore, if your main priority is speed and the lower range is not an issue, then the 5 GHz routers will be the best buy for you.

Range

The range of WiFi signals is more with lower frequencies than with the higher ones as it is harder for the high frequencies to penetrate through walls and any sort of a solid structure. Thus, if a higher range is what you want, the 2.4 GHz routers are best suited.

Interference

The interference received by a WiFi router depends on the number of channels the frequency band can hold. Usually, a 5 GHz router is capable of holding much more channels than a 2.4 GHz router and hence has lower latency overall.

Also read: How to check the strength of your WiFi in Windows?

Which Router Should You Use?

It is rather very simple to choose which router to use, ask yourself if you need the speed or you need the range? For most, it will be the range as India is yet to reach high speeds in terms of Broadband internet.

If you need more channels than usual, the 5 GHz router is the one to go for.

Also read: What is 5G? What does the future of mobile internet look like?

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